Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

2010: Islands of the Dodecanese to Samos

This web page contains the logs of a singlehanded sailing cruise that I took with S/Y Thetis to the the Dodecanese in Greece. The logs cover a period of 17 days of sailing from Marathi back to Samos Marina via the islands of Arki (Glipapas, Tiganakia), Patmos (Agrio Livathdi, Vagia, Livadhi Geranou), Agathonisi, Fourni (Vitsilia, Petrokopió), Samos (Pythagorio, Klima, Zoodochos Pigi, Mikri Lakka, Kerveli, Mycale).

The logs are illustrated with maps and photographs. They also include some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited as well as several links to other related web sites.

Route to Samos
Route to Samos

Thursday August 5, 2010, Day 15

Today is my daughter’s Corinna birthday, she is now 32! I sent her a congratulatory e-mail since I was unable to call her in Kenya where she is doing her post-doc research. Here it is very calm with almost no wind. I expect that this day will be hot.

I put up the tent and worked with the computer in the cabin while the morning was still cool. By late morning working inside the cabin became unbearable. I moved my MacBook laptop to the cockpit table but its LCD screen was very hard to read in the bright light, so I gave up. I finished reading Alexander Kent’s Command a King’s Ship and started his 10th Bolitho novel Enemy in Sight! on the Kindle.

Around 10 AM 2-3 boats left and their moorings were freed, including 2 belonging to Pandelis. Faneromeni relocated to one of them and so did Thetis.

In the afternoon I managed to call Corinna in Kenya with Skype. After that, I ran the genset for 45 minutes. Later Nikos and Rozina came with their fast dinghy and we all went across to Tiganakia where we swam in the crystal-clear water.

In the evening two Greek gentlemen came over with a dinghy. They were from the S/Y Rita and the S/Y Dafni. They have been following Thetis on the Travels with S/Y Thetis web site for years and wanted to meet me.

For diner we went again to Pandelis. I had a very tasty and very fresh sargos - σαργός (a silvery fish - Diplodus sargus sargus).

Friday August 6, 2010, Day 16

After I put up the tent I went ashore and said good-bye to Pandeli’s family. Kyria Katina, as usual, gave me a loaf of her freshly baked black bread to take with me.

I cast off at 1015 and motored slowly the 0.8 M to Glipapas, Arki [37° 22.4' N 26° 44.4'] while towing the dinghy with the outboard still on her. We arrived at 1025. The wind, while light and less than 10 knots, was from the SE so it was difficult to anchor at my usual spot very close to the north shore where there is a good patch of sand. The bottom in the rest of the cove is full of weed. If I were to anchor at my spot and if the wind were to change from the prevailing northerlies the boat would drift to the shore. So, I used a new, untried yet approach that I have been thinking about for some time now. I anchored, as I usually do here, fairly close to the N shore at 4.5 m over the sand spot and then gently reversed while paying out 45 m of chain. The idea being that the weight of the chain will keep Thetis away from the shore. Here the bottom slopes steeply. When we were at a 10 m depth, I let the chain settle and the boat drifted to 6.5 m depth. Not pleased with this I proceeded to the next step of my plan. I reversed again, paying out more chain, back to 10 m and I attached, with cleats, the 2nd anchor on the primary’s chain and then lowered it letting out an extra 10 m of chain. All together now we had close to 60 m of chain and were floating at 10.5 m depth with anchors at both ends of the chain. Thetis did not move from that position neither during the whole day nor during the following night.

I have been having an intermittent problem with the autopilot. Now I disassembled its connector from its cable and cut off a section. Sure enough the cable’s wires were corroded. I cut off the corroded part and after starting the genset to provide AC electricity I soldered them. Now the autopilot was working properly.

Nikos and Rozina came with their dinghy from Port Augusta where they had moored the Faneromeni. They asked me if I wanted to join them for a swim at Tiganakia but since I was busy with repairs I declined. I also decided not to join them tonight for dinner at the Tripas restaurant in Port Augusta but to eat aboard Thetis since we have been eating in restaurants for many days now.

I prepared a pork roast which I had purchased in Leros. I cooked it with fresh tomatoes and wine. After it was cooked and after I had my ouzo and removed the tent, I boiled some tagliatelle to go with the roast. It was very tasty.

The night was quiet but very humid.

Saturday August 7, 2010, Day 17

The morning was extremely humid with relative humidity 90%. In the early morning I went ashore and disposed off the accumulated trash. After returning to Thetis I raised the outboard and prepared for departure. The wind was less than 8 knots from the WSW. It took me some time to raise the anchors but finally it was done.

We departed for Patmos at 0800. Motoring was the only option, at least I ran the water-maker. After the cockpit had dried from the dew, and still under way, I put up the tent.

We arrived in Agrio Livathdi (Άγριο Λιβάδι), Patmos [37° 20.5' N 26° 33.4' E] at 0945 after 9.2 M. I anchored in 6 m depth, avoiding the areas with weed, and let out 45 m of chain. Since there was no wind to help set the anchor, I reversed gently and after the chain was stretched revved up the engine to dig-in the anchor. Thetis settled in 6-7 m depth. I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was bitting the sand.

I later spoke at length with Alice in Washington, D.C. on Skype. The day was fairly hot but less so then yesterday. It was calm here with an occasional refreshing breeze.

In the early evening I had an ouzo and then went ashore to meet, as we had prearranged, with Nikos and Rozina who rode there with the small “Faneromeni’s” scooter. “Faneromeni” was in Grikos. We talked for a while but they were not interested in eating since they had “lunch” at 5 PM! They are on a very different clock than the one I am.

I went back onboard and made for myself a cheese omelet.

Sunday August 8, 2010, Day 18

This was a quiet and fairly cool morning. I spoke with my daughter Cynthia on Skype and did some work on the computer. I tried to call the well known Benetos restaurant here in Patmos to make a reservation for tonight, as we had agreed with Nikos, but all I got was a recording to call back after 5:30 PM. I did a lot of reading and swimming. I finished reading Alexander Kent’s Enemy in Sight! and started Andre Norton’s The Time Traders on the Kindle. Lots of boats here.

I called Benetos again at 5:30 but they were completely booked for tonight. I talked with Nikos on the phone and we agreed that he and Rozina will come here and we will all eat at the local taverna, Glaros which overlooks the bay. We will meet there at 9:30 PM. Nikos was planning to take the local ferry to Samos tomorrow morning (the hydrofoils that served these island are no longer operating) and got to Vathy for another blood test. He will then take the ferry back to Patmos.

I had to ran the genset because the batteries were low. I wanted to go ashore early and have a walk before dinner. While walking I met Nikos and Rozina riding their scooter down the hill towards the taverna. When I joined them there, we ordered. They featured κακαβιά (kakavia - a Greek version of bouillabaisse soup). It was good.

Monday August 9, 2010, Day 19

After checking the e-mail I put up the tent and while the day was not too hot I went with the dinghy to Skala, Patmos’ main port. There I bought several provisions, bottled water in particular. I tried to find turkey cutlets but it was in vain as the only butcher shop was unattended.

While walking back to the dinghy I saw my brother Nikos at a café. He was having an orange juice while waiting for the ferry to Samos. I joined him. He had a very good idea: take the scooter with him on the ferry (10 € round trip) and instead of taking a taxi from Pythagorio to the doctor in Vathy, ride his scooter.

After I returned to Agrio Livathdi, stowing the provisions and had a refreshing swim I raised the anchor. It was 1100. I slowly motored to a cove N of Kampos (Κάμπος) called Vagiá (Βαγιά) [37° 20.9' N 26° 34.24' E] where I anchored in 8 m depth. The bottom here is sand with very little weed. I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was nicely buried in the sand.

Later the wind increased to 10-15 knots with higher gusts. By the afternoon the anchor appeared to have dragged somewhat. I snorkeled to it. It had dragged for a few meters, while still buried in the soft sand. I re-anchored, this time in 5 m depth and let out 55 m of chain. This did it! Thetis settled solidly in 7 m depth and did not move depite the 17 knots wind gusting to 22.

For dinner I pealed and cut 3 Kalami potatoes and after covering them with a thin film of olive oil, also from Kalami, I added pepper, salt, and a crushed clove of garlic, baked them in the oven. I later ate these with some slices of the pork roast that I had cooked 2 days ago. They were delicious but nevertheless baking them was a mistake because the cabin got very hot. During the bake I ran out of Camping Gaz and had to replace the canister.

It was a very windy night.

Vagia Cove
The Vagiá Cove

Tuesday August 10, 2010, Day 20

Sign by Kids
An Ecological Sign by Kindergarden Kids

The wind howled all night, averaging 18 knots, but Thetis did not move. I went ashore early in the morning for an 1 hour walk taking advantage of the early cool hours. There was a nice sign on the beach, painted by kindergarden kids, urging people not to throw trash and cigarette buds. The beach was fairly clean except of course for those infernal cigarette buds. After I returned to Thetis I saw a man with a bag actually picking up the small amount of trash still on the beach. This is a good sign indeed! If only people would stop littering and smoking or at least collect their cigarettes instead of throwing them all over.

All was well throughout the morning and the early afternoon. I did a lot of swimming, reading etc. I finished Time Traders which was alright but nothing special and started reading on the Kindle the recent novel by Dan Chaon Await Your Reply.

Later as I was getting ready to call my wife Alice in Washington, D.C. on Skype and before having my afternoon coffee a lovely blue trawler arrived. She had a US flag and her home port was “Delaware” (not a port but a state). This usually means that she is not American but Turkish owned. An elderly gentleman was at the controls, looking totally spaced out, and a young crewman was at the bow. They managed to anchor, despite the plenty room available, right next to Thetis crossing her long anchor chain. They did not lower any appreciable length but proceed to violently reverse. So, their anchor was inevitably tangled with Thetis’ chain as well as with the chain of a cruising motor catamaran anchored further away. Since I was already contemplating moving to the Livadhi Geranou (or Pothitou) I started raising my anchor and then disengaged it from the other chains. By the time the mess was sorted out the trawler left and headed towards Skala while Thetis headed for Livadhi Geranou.

While underway the Skype from the MacBook started buzzing. It was Alice. I had to tell her that I will call her back in 10-15 minutes after anchoring.

We arrived in Livadhi Geranou [37° 20.7' N 26° 35.3' E] at 1525 after 1.4 M. I anchored without any trouble in 6.5 m depth with 45 m of chain. I then called Alice back and we had a nice long chat.

In the evening I went ashore to the taverna Livadhi Geranou where I had a large salad and a tasty pork souvlaki (shish-kebab).

The night was quiet but very hot.

Wednesday August 11, 2010, Day 21

Today we separate with Nikos and the Faneromeni. They will first go to Skala for water and then head back to the Cyclades and Athens. I decided to go to Agathonisi.

I raised the anchor at 0820 and motored towards Arki. The wind was a useless 5-8 knot NNW breeze. Nevertheless between Patmos and Arki there was a sizable swell, the result of the previous windy days. As we were passing the group of islets on the south of Arki called Tiganakia they looked so attractive, and since I was not in any particular hurry, I decided to stop there and go on to Agathonisi tomorrow.

I anchored [37° 21.6' N 26° 45.0' E] at 1000 in 6 m depth with 35 m chain. We had come 9.1 M from Patmos. It was very calm here and the water was most inviting. Thetis was the only boat.

Later a chartered S/Y came and anchored near Thetis and then came a day-tripper with about 40 tourists. They did not stay more than an hour. An hour later, after they left, another day-tripper came and anchored also very near Thetis. Their anchor got fouled with Thetis’ chain and after they left I snorkeled to see if I had to re-anchor. To my pleasant surprise, despite the disturbance, our anchor was still embedded in the sand and in its original place.

Eventually most boats left and Thetis was alone with only two other sailboats. I had my ouzo and then boiled some tagliatelle to go with the pork roast. The night was glorious. The stars were very bright and there was no glare. I always, except when in a harbor or when it is very humid, take down the tent at sundown. This not only reduces the windage but allows me to enjoy the starry night. This was especially true tonight. After dinner I lay in the cockpit staring at the sky until I fell asleep.

Another view of Tiganakia

Thursday August 12, 2010, Day 22

Because I had slept relatively late I did not wake up until 7:30. After my morning coffee I prepared to depart for Agathonisi. This preparation was rather easy since I had not lowered yesterday the outboard to the dinghy.

We departed at 0840. The wind was 8-12 NW, not sufficient for a real sail but still I was able to motor-sail with the full genoa while keeping on the tent. The day was hot!

Thetis arrived in Gaidouravlako (Γαϊδουραύλακο), Agathonisi [37° 27.1' N 26° 57.7' E] at 1045 after 12.4 M. This is a lovely but somewhat narrow cove. I anchored in 6 m with 30 m chain, dropping the anchor near the E shore and then, after lowering the outboard, I took a bow line to the W shore. By the way, it is my practice to always have the outboard on the dinghy even if I row. This comes from bitter experience being blown away from the shore and having to fight the wind rowing back to Thetis. I then snorkeled and checked the anchor and tied a fender to the shore line to make it more visible.

There were no other boats here, a welcome change to the crowded anchorages on this cruise. However, soon a 50' chartered Bavaria came and anchored but she only stayed for ½ an hour. During this time lots of people, I lost count, jumped into the water and swam. Before departing, they all crowded to have a fresh water rinse. I am always amazed by this urgent need to rinse, as if the sea-water is a corrosive liquid. Maybe this is because I grew up in the sea and I find the tingle of drying sea-water on my skin rather pleasant.

The day was fairly hot but the hills here are tall and by 6:15 Thetis was in the shadow and I was able to lower the tent and allow some cooling breeze. I watched the sea-gulls and 2 falcons while sipping my ouzo. My brother Nikos called. They were now in Schinousa.

Later in the evening I went with the dinghy to the harbor Ayios Yiorgios or Saint Giorgio (Άγιος Γιώργιος). I bought a few provisions in the small store and then I ate at the Glaros (Γλάρος - Sea Gull) taverna. Both Yiannis, the proprietor and his wife were glad to see me. I have been coming here for over 20 years. I asked and I was told that the fuel station opens around 10 AM.

Back on Thetis it was a hot night. I spent part of the night laying in the cockpit.

Friday August 13, 2010, Day 23

It was very windy this morning. The wind was howling and gusting to the upper 20 knots. I worked a little on the computer. While I was doing so the wind diminished and changed direction from the NNW to the SSE. Thetis turned around and settled in 5 m depth. I put up the tent and then took the dinghy to the harbor.

I went to the fuel pump. There was no one there but I called the listed number (6945 329 984 and 6947 042 163) and the man who answered came after a few minutes. I was thusly able to fill the two gasoline canisters: one for the outboard and the other for the genset.

Back on Thetis I tried to start the genset but it sputtered and died. On a hunch, I filled its oil compartment but it still did not start. However, after I let it sit for about an hour it did start. I ran it for 1½ because the batteries were low.

I tried to call Alice on Skype but it was a most frustrating connection. She would answer and speak but she could not hear me. I checked the microphone and it was fine. In the mean time, the temperature in the cabin had risen to 38°C (100.4°F). This made working on the computer, inside the cabin, very uncomfortable. But outside the cabin the computer’s LCD was almost illegible. I finished the Await Your Reply novel. It is well written but it did not engage me. There are a lot of descriptions of the inner feeling of its protagonists but none of them is particularly attractive to me or for that matter very interesting.

I made many jumps into the sea to cool off and I read on the Kindle. The Kindle with its electronic ink technology is very easy to read in the strong outdoor light. But it was hot in the cockpit. I kept dumping buckets full of sea water on the deck in an effort to cool it down.

After 6 PM with the sun shaded by the mountain conditions became bearable, but it was still hot and I was not hungry. I had my ouzo and then made a simple omelet with some left-over potatoes. I then watched the stars while lying in the cockpit. It is great to see the mast making circles over the starry sky. The Milky Way extends from Cassiopeia in the NE to the Scorpius in the SW. While seeing all this glory one wonders if perhaps in another planet of another star in the Milky Way there is a sea and on the sea there is something like a sailboat with a sailor also watching the sky and wondering.

Saturday August 14, 2010, Day 24

I woke up at 5:30 feeling hot in my cabin and since it was almost daybreak I did not continue my sleep in the cooler cockpit. I had my coffee and while waiting for sufficient daylight I started re-reading Dudley Pope’s Ramage & the Drumbeat the second of the Lord Ramage novels. After it was light enough I prepared for departure. I untied the shoreline and after detaching it form the rock I drove the dinghy (the outboard was on) back to Thetis where I coiled the line and stowed it in the sail locker. I then raised the outboard and when everything was ready pulled up the anchor.

We departed at 0650 heading for either Vitsilia on the E side of Fourni or for Petrokopio on the W side of the island. The wind was 15-20 knots from the W. As soon as I could safely point the boat north, I raised the mainsail and then I opened the headsail. I was able to happily sail close-hauled for a while. The sea was very choppy and there was some spray. Then the wind backed to the W and I had to motor-sail. So it went sail, motor-sail, some of each.

The AIS indicated that we were on a collision course with the cargo ship Aflferdawin I, calling sign XUIEH7, going to/from Tartus. I hailed her via the DSC but there was no response. I had to drastically change course to avoid a collision.

Near Fourni the wind increased to 25 knots and kept on changing direction. First the headsail had to be rolled-in and then, when we were about 2 M from Vitsilia I lowered the mainsail. By that time I had decided on Vitsilia based on the theory that because:

  1. of the high mountain the sun will be shaded earlier than in Petrokopio
  2. I know that there is a GPRS signal (no 3G) but this will allow me to do some e-mailing, and
  3. I did not want to go completely against this very gusty wind, even for just a few miles.

We arrived in Vitsilia, Fourni [37° 32.6' N 26° 30.5' E] at 1140 after 25.6 M. Unfortunately the wind at that time was not the prevailing northerly but it came from the east. I dropped the anchor in 6 m and let out 25 m chain, not as long as I wanted, but I did not want Thetis to drift into the shallows. She finally settled in 4 m depth. Later as the wind backed more to the north I let out more chain for a total of 40 m.

Thetis was swinging from anywhere from 6 m depth near the SW shore to 19 m towards to the SE. I jumped into the water to cool off and to check the anchor. I then covered the mainsail and put up the tent. That was not easy because of the fierce gusts. It was hot here also, but less so then yesterday.

I spoke with Alice using the GSM for and Skype. Regular computer to computer Skype does not work with GPRS signal (2G), it needs 3G.

I was waiting for the sun to be hidden by the mountains but it was hidden much later then I was expecting. Finally there was no sun. It was 7:30. After removing the tent I sat at the cockpit table with the MacBook and checked/send e-mails, got the latest forecast, and the news of the day. The forecasts for this region called for force 6 northerlies. This will hold for the next couple of days while in the Ikaria Sea the wind will be force 7.

While reading the news the anchor dragged. Our depth went from 15 m to 21 and then to 35, and 45! I removed the cockpit table and raised the anchor which by now was full of weeds. I motored back into the cove and re-anchored at 4 m depth with 45 m of chain. This was good but I was afraid, since it was rather gusty, that a gust from the wrong direction may drift Thetis to either the rocks or to too shallow water. So, I set the 2nd anchor in deeper water and to the east. By the time that all this was done it was 9:30.

I quickly cooked some rice and ate it with the last of the roast. The night was very windy but Thetis was steady. I was glad to have two anchors out.

Sunday August 15, 2010, Day 25

The boat was fine but the gusts were fierce. I looked at the weather forecasts. They promised just force 5 winds for this morning and then force 6 starting this afternoon through tomorrow and then by Tuesday calming down. I decided to go Petrokopió at the W side of the island.

I raised the 2nd anchor from the dinghy and left it and its line inside the dinghy but I raised the outboard into Thetis. I then raised the primary anchor in the normal way with the windlass. It was 0820. We motored out of the cove. The wind here was 20 knots gusting to 30 but when we reached Cape Agridio the wind was gusting to 40 knots and there was a lot of spray as we drove north against it. I was glad that I had not left the outboard on the dinghy but by that time I was beginning to regret leaving Vitsilia. Slowly we edged north and finally we reached Petrokopió (Πετροκοπιό) [37° 33.6' N 26° 29.2' E] at 0930 after just 4.6 difficult M.

There was only another S/Y here but she was leaving as we were entering the cove. The cove was calm and the gusts were appreciably less than in Vitsilia. It took me three attempts before I got the anchor down to a satisfactory place. After I made sure, by snorkeling, that it was well set I deployed the 2nd anchor as well. I snorkeled and verified that it too was well set. I then put up the tent which was hard to do with the gusts.

The gusts were anywhere from 2 to 25 knots. Unfortunately when I was anchoring the wind was mainly from the WNW, which is the prevailing direction here as it is also in Vitsilia, but as the day progressed most of the gusts came from the E. This created a problem because Thetis drifted to the west shore but was still at least 100 m away from the rocks. A spear-fisherman called me and told me that both my anchors had dragged. I snorkeled to them and yes indeed, the primary anchor had dragged about 8 m but was now well caught on a rock and looked solid. The second anchor was exactly where I had set it although it was intended to keep Thetis away from the E shore and not from the W where she was being blown. Nevertheless I decided not to re-anchor since both anchors were holding. But, inspite of my confidence it was a tense afternoon.

The sun dove behind the high hill at 6:30 considerably earlier than it did yesterday in Vitsilia. I was wrong on that too. One of the dinghy oars came loose but I caught it in time. I took down the tent and then had an ouzo while preparing spaghetti with a fresh tomato sauce for dinner. After dinner I read inside the cabin and finished Ramage & the Drumbeat.

Entering Petrokopio
Entering Petrokopio

Monday August 16, 2010, Day 26

The lovely water in Petrokopio
The lovely water in Petrokopio

The howling wind woke me up at 2 AM. Most of the gusts came from the E and I was concerned that Thetis may drift too close to the W shore. After a tense and watchful hour the wind calmed down I went back to sleep. This set the tone for the day. Good and bad things happened.

Good things: when I woke up and checked my e-mail there was a brief message from my daughter Corinna in Kenya informing me and Alice that she is expecting a baby. So I will become a grandfather for the second time.

Bad things: I looked at the site and found out that they now have Kindle editions of the Ramage novels. So, I bought the next two, my last was volume 9. I had a very hard time figuring out in their labyrinthine website how to download them to my computer. It took me one full frustrating hour before I did so. I then connected the Kindle to my MacBook and uploaded the files. But, after disconnecting the Kindle it crashed. Now I am stuck in the proverbial desert island without books to read. Right away I send an e-mail to Amazon support.

Good things: I snorkeled and checked the anchors. They had not moved from where they were yesterday.

Since all my unread books resided in the now inoperative Kindle I started re-reading Patrick O’Brian’s Blue at the Mizzen the last of the Aubrey/Maturin novels.

It was a relatively pleasant calm morning but by the afternoon the fierce E gusts were back. In the mean time, 3 S/Y had arrived: a charter boat, a 49' Sun Odyssey flying a Turkish flag, and a Greek boat the S/Y Orion (Ορίων). Fortunately none of them interfered with Thetis’ anchors.

For dinner I made some rice and served it with a not so nice sausage that I had bought in Agathonisi.

Tuesday August 17, 2010, Day 27

I received an e-mail from with instructions on how to reset the Kindle. I tried it but it was a no go. The same problem persisted and it did not operate.

The forecasts for today called for force 5 NW winds for here, the Sea of Ikaria, and for force 4 for the Sea of Samos. I prepared for departure. First I lifted the 2nd anchor by loosening the primary’s chain and using the windlass. There was some difficulty because the rope of the 2nd anchor was wrapped around the primary’s chain at least seven times. After the 2nd anchor was up and stowed I lifted the outboard and then raised the primary anchor.

We departed from Petrokopio at 0830. The wind was 10-22 knots from the NNW. We sailed with the mainsail set in its first reef and with 50% of the headsail. Later, I opened all of the headsail. It was a lovely fast sail sometimes making better than 7.5 knots.

We had a close encounter with the cargo vessel Dicle Deniz as the AIS indicated that we were on a collision course at 90°. I had to start the motor and operate at fairly high RPM for a few minutes to get ahead of her so that she could pass on our stern. We also encountered 3 dolphins but they did not stay with us. At 1200 the wind died to 5-10 knots from the N and I regrettably had to roll-in the headsail and motor-sail with only the mainsail. But even that did not last and at 1300 I had to lower the slapping mainsail.

It was hot. I stopped the boat and jumped in the sea to cool off. I put up the tent and continued motoring to Pythagorio, Samos where we arrived at 1400. I anchored off in the outer harbor [37° 41.4' N 26° 56.8' E]. We had travelled 30.8 M.

After another refreshing swim I turned on the MacBook and spoke, via Skype, to Alice in Washington, D.C. The signal here was good, 3G. I also received a couple of e-mails from Amazon with suggestions about the Kindle. None of them worked! I called, via Skype, Amazon support and spoke first to two ladies and then to a gentleman. Again no results after following their instructions. This was very frustrating!

I went with the dinghy to the town and bought some provisions and also replaced the empty Camping Gaz canister.

At 1810 I raised the anchor and motored 4.3 M to Klima [37° 42.4' N 27° 02.4' E] where I anchored in 6 m depth with 45 m chain at 1920. The signal here was only 2G GPRS and Skype did not work. I will pursue the Kindle problem tomorrow.

I was tired. I had a hot shower and then went ashore for dinner to the Karduna restaurant. There Mr. Nikos, the proprietor, after a while recognized me. He was glad to see me again. I have not been at his restaurant for several years now.

It was a quiet but very hot night.

Klima, Samos
Klima, Samos

Wednesday August 18, 2010, Day 28

Somehow I woke up at 5 AM feeling very hot. I relocated myself to the cockpit and snoozed for an hour or so.

Many times in my engineering life after facing a problem and after having slept, its obvious solutions came to me. Today this happened again. I figured out that all the recent problems with the Kindle were caused by the two most recently uploaded files (books). So, after hard reseting the Kindle again I connected it to the MacBook and purged all of its files. After disconnecting it the Kindle seemed to work. So, I reconnected it again and uploaded all the files, except the two recent ones, stored in the computer. Joy! It worked! By that time all of the files not stored on the MacBook were, of course, lost. Just to make sure that all functionality was restored I downloaded from the Amazon site two already purchased books and then uploaded them to the Kindle. It still worked. I wrote an e-mail to Amazon support reporting all of this and requesting them to please investigate the integrity of the last two purchased books that when uploaded crashed my Kindle. I was now waiting for their answer.

It was a slow day with lots of swimming. The temperature inside the cabin reached 35°C (95°F). All afternoon I was terrorized by an infernal jet-ski that kept buzzing Thetis.

In the evening I ate left-over pasta. It was too hot and uncomfortable inside the cabin for me to cook.

Thursday August 19, 2010, Day 29

I slept part of the night in the cockpit, due to to the heat, and part of the night, the later part, in the cabin. In the morning I transferred 2 jerry cans of fuel to the tank and prepared for departure.

I raised the anchor at 0940 and slowly motored first to Poseidonio (Ποσιδώνειο) also known with its old name Mulabraim (Μουλαμπραΐμ), where I took some pictures, and then to my favorite little cove on the lee of the Zoodochos Pigi (Ζωοδόχος Πηγή) peninsula [37° 46.3' N 27° 03.3' E], where I anchored after 5.9 M at 1100. This cove is steep and you practically have to touch the rocks for a suitable anchoring depth at 6-7 m where you can drop the anchor.

Deaprting from Poseidonio

Departing from Poseidonio

Zoodochos Pigi

The cove under Zoodochos Pigi

I had lunch and a nice long swim after which, at 1315, I raised the anchor and moved to Mikri Lakka (Μικρή Λάκκα) [37° 45.5' N 27° 01.6' E] just 2 M away. Here were two other boats: a day-tripper and a trawler with an Italian flag. Both were anchored and had shore lines tied to trees. I anchored in 7 m with 45 m chain. The only problem here, as in Zoodochos Pigi, was that there was no Cosmote signal. The only signal was from the Turkish Turkcell. So any phone calls, either incoming or out going, will be expensive.

It was a hot, hot afternoon, the cabin temperature reaching 38°C (100.4°F). I kept jumping into the water every few minutes and then reading under the tent. I finished Blue at the Mizzen, and started Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court on the restored Kindle. I have to call Amazon to resolve the status of the two purchased books but it will have to wait for better GSM signal.

At last the sun sunk and I was able to remove the tent and let the very light breeze cool the boat.

For dinner I made pasta with a tuna-olives-capers sauce.

I again slept part of the night in the cooler cockpit and then moved into my cabin.

Mikri Lakka
Mikri Lakka

Friday August 20, 2010, Day 30

I woke up at 5:30. Taking advantage of of the relative coolness, now just 27°C (81°F) in the cabin, I did some computer work and I read. By 7:30 the sun was up and I put up the tent. It was getting hot quickly.

I raised the anchor at 0950 and headed slowly around the little island of Kasonisi (Κασονήσι) to Kerveli (Κέρβελη) [37° 43.8' N 27° 02.2' E] where I anchored at 1045 in 7 m depth with 45 m chain. Near Thetis was a lovely steel yawl named Vega but I could not see her flag.

It was hot again. I had to jump in the sea almost every 15 minutes just to keep comfortable.

The GSM signal here was good and from Cosmote so I was able make several telephone calls: I returned my brother Byron’s call, and I called my other brother Nikos, who was now back in his home in Voula (a suburb of Athens) while the Faneromeni was in her berth in Marina 4 in Glyfada. I also called, via Skype, Amazon support. No developments there. They promised an investigation. I called FedEx in Athens. I had gotten voice mail from their Athens office that they had the $40 thermocouple which I had ordered from West Marine. They needed an extra €120 to get it through customs. Not only that, but they needed a signed authorization, signature certified by the police, faxed to them. I them told then to forget it and send the thermocouple back to West Marine.

Inside the cabin the temperature had reached 38-39°C (100.4-102.2°F) and it was unbearable. I left Kerveli at 1630 and went back to Klima [37° 42.4' N 27° 02.4' E] (4.1 M) where I anchored in 6.5 m with 50 m chain as the wind was now from the NE at 16-20 knots.

I took a hot shower and went ashore back to the Karduna because it was too hot in the cabin to cook.

It was an uneventful but very windy night.

Saturday August 21, 2010, Day 31

Once again I was up by 5 AM. This time I was roused by the NNE wind gusting from 18-28 knots. Thetis had drifted uncomfortably close to the reef although the anchor was holding. While we were not in any danger I decided to move earlier than planned to Mycale and spend the day there and tomorrow evening go to the marina. I had already called them advising them of Thetis arrival. I had also called Aramis and made arrangements for a car to be delivered at the marina around 8 PM tomorrow.

I raised the anchor at 0800 and motored running the water-maker to refill the empty bottles. After filling the bottles I pickled the water-maker with a biocide solution anticipating several weeks of inactivity.

We arrived in Mycale [37° 42.3' N 26° 58.9' E] at 0835 after 3 M. I anchored in 5 m depth over sand and let out 40 m of chain. I then snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was well set. I then put up the tent.

It was a windy day with gusts from the ENE-NW up to 26 knots. The anchor was holding well.

I spoke with Alice on Skype, since there was a good 3G signal here. Taking advantage of this signal I downloaded fresh copies of the files of the two books that caused all the trouble on the Kindle. I then ran the Unix utility diff and found out that there were significant differences between the two versions. Clearly the old ones were corrupted because they were both smaller than their new versions. By that time I had given up on Amazon Support. They did not seem to read my e-mail messages, nor did they listen to the oral communications and they seemed not to have any collective memory. Very much inferior support than the one that Apple provides. So, I uploaded the new versions of the two books to the Kindle and joy of joys it did not crash and the books were readable. So either, and most likely, the two files were incorrectly transmitted or the originals were corrupted and have been replaced at Amazon unbeknownst to their support people. At any rate I sent them a new e-mail advising of these new developments.

In the evening after removing the tent the temperature inside the cabin was 33°C (91.4°F). I raised and covered the outboard, and removed the oars and mats from the dinghy.

For dinner I had a potato salad with left-overs. The provisions now are running low. It was a windy but pleasant night.

Sunday August 22, 2010, Day 32

This is the last day of this cruise. Early in the morning, before the sun would raise the temperature, I attached the sling and lifted the dinghy to the top of the cabin. I then covered it and lashed it down. After that I put up the tent.

I finished reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court on the Kindle and started the new, finally working, Dudley Pope’s The Ramage Touch the 10th of the Lord Ramage novels.

I received an e-mail from Amazon who having completely disregarded my last e-mail advised me to hard reset my Kindle!

I wrote the following letter which I will mail from Samos:

Mr. Jeff Bezos
SUITE 1200

Dear Mr. Bezos,

I am writing to you because until now I have been a very satisfied Amazon customer. I have owned an original Kindle that was ordered the very first day they were offered. Since then I have used it extensively and loved it, especially when I travel. Last year I bought a second one as a gift for my daughter.

Unfortunately, I recently had cause to contact Amazon technical support which was a singularly unsatisfying experience. Because I do like the Kindle so much I thought that, in an effort to improve this support, I should bring my troubles to your attention.

Here are some of the exchanged e-mail messages with the support team:

(Dated August 18)

Two days ago I bought two books (D01-6220805-3719326, D01-8484677-5984958).

I own a Kindle1 and I am on a sailing boat in Greece so no Whisperjet. I downloaded these books on my MacBook and then uploaded them to my Kindle as I have done several times before. This time my Kindle CRASHED.

I had several electronic communications with your support team and 3 long distance telephone conversations.

Following the team's suggestion I hard reset my Kindle which unfroze it but all the books were gone. BUT when the Kindle was re-connected to the Mac all the books were still there (Kindle/Documents).

Another suggestion, by e-mail, was to try the "Show & Sort" function to "Show All" . It worked but showed no books.

The last 2 telephone conversations were very frustrating because the call was lost.

After thinking about the problem I did the following actions:

  1. Connected the Kindle to the Mac.
  2. Deleted all items in Kindle/Documents
  3. "Empty Trash" on the Mac
  4. Disconnected the Kindle

It showed no books AND the “Content Manager” did not freeze this time. Encouraged and suspecting that the last two purchased and downloaded books may be corrupted and causing the problem I proceeded to do the following:

  1. Loaded back to the Kindle all the books in the Mac EXCEPT the last two recently purchased. 
  2. Disconnected the Kindle. All of the loaded books were there.
  3. Logged on to Amazon and downloaded the previously purchased books that had not caused any problems.
  4. Loaded these to back to the Kindle. It worked.

So, my conclusion is that either one or both of the "The-Ramage-Touch.tpz" and "Ramage-s-Signal-No-11-.tpz" are corrupted and CRASHED my Kindle.

Please check the integrity of these files and let me know what to do next. I do want to have these books but on a working Kindle.

Waiting for your response.

P.S. If so directed I will call you from my Greek cell phone but I hope to speak to a support person familiar with the case and not have to go over the history, at some expense, for the fourth time.

(Response from Amazon dated August 18)

Thank you for all of your patience. I've read your email, and I've submitted a research on both books to find out why those books are giving you problems. As soon as I have an answer I'll write you back.

However, I'd appreciate if you could provide us with a full phone number to call you back. We've tried to contact you back to phone number +30 6944 888 424 but seems that there's some numbers missing.

Thank you again

Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here: HYPERLINK

If no, please click here: HYPERLINK

Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.

To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

Best regards,

Kevin L.

(After several telephone calls and messages where I confirmed that the above telephone number is indeed correct here is a later response from Amazon dated August 22 )


I'm writing to follow up on our correspondence about your Kindle content.

I've checked this issue with our Kindle technical team and see that this issue can be fixed by completely resetting your Kindle to factory default. So, let's completely reset your Kindle. This can solve intermittent problems.

Connect your Kindle to the power adapter, make sure the light next to the power port is lit, and place the power switch into the "ON" position. Carefully slide the gray back cover off your Kindle.

To reset, insert a pin or paperclip into the small hole labeled "Reset." Avoid using a pencil or other item that could break off inside your Kindle and cause permanent damage.

If your Kindle doesn't restart or this problem happens again, you can reach us by phone directly and toll-free from many countries by clicking the Contact Us option in the right-hand column of our Kindle Support pages at:

When you visit our website and select Contact Us, click on the "Phone" tab, enter your number, and we’ll call you right back.

If your country isn’t listed or you’re unable to take advantage of the Contact Us feature, you can call us directly at 1-877-453-4512 or 001-206-922-0844 (if you're calling from outside the U.S.).

I hope this helps. Thanks for using Amazon Kindle.

Did I solve your problem?

If no, please click here:

Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.

To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

Best regards,


(My response to the above dated August 22)

This is in reply to today's msg from Arif concerning the two books (D01-6220805-3719326, D01-8484677-5984958) I bought on August 15 and all the endless msgs and telephone calls.

I am AMAZED that your support team does not seem to read msgs (although they do appear in your replies), does not listen to telephone conversations, nor does it appear to have any collective memory. For example, your agents have ALREADY told me both by e-mail and orally how to hard reset the Kindle.

As I meticulously explained in detail on my Aug 18 msg I have isolated the problem to those two books/files I have downloaded. These files were corrupted and CRASHED my Kindle. These files are either already corrupted on your site or were corrupted during the download. I have been asking repeatedly to check them so that we can rule out the former. Instead you tell me how to reset the Kindle!!!

Being a computer scientist myself (PhD) I gave up on your support. Today I downloaded again these two files and ran the Unix program "Diff" on them. Both were quite different from the ones I downloaded on August 15.

So my question remains: ARE THESE TWO FILES NOW SAFE?

PS. Your support is a far, far cry from the support provided by Apple.

(Response from Amazon dated August 23)


I'm sorry to hear about the problem you had with your Kindle.

After looking into your inquiry, I suggest it would be easier for us to resolve this issue over phone as you can speak to our live customer support executives who can discuss the problem in detail and resolve the issue to your satisfaction.

I realize that at this point of time asking you to contact us again would be disappointing, however, we would really like to assist you better.

So, I request you to enter your phone number in the below link and we'll call you within the time frame you request.

We'll be happy to call you at your convenience. Just visit our Help pages (HYPERLINK) and click the "Contact Us" button on the right side of the page. Then click the "Phone" tab and enter your phone number in the pop-up window. Choose the most convenient time from the options available, click "Submit," and we'll give you a call.

If your country isn't listed or you're unable to take advantage of the Contact Us feature, you can call us directly at 1-877-453-4512 or 1-206-922-0844 (if you're calling from outside the U.S.).

We hope you can call us soon so we can help solve this problem quickly

Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here:

If no, please click here:

Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.

To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

Best regards,

Shravan D

After several more messages from Amazon completely ignoring my request to check the integrity of these two books/files I uploaded a downloaded version of these two Books/file into my Kindle and it works. With other words I solved the problem myself despite the bad support. A lot of effort would have been saved if your support team had answered a simple and direct question.

Yours truly,

Vasilis Riginos

At 1840 I raised the anchor and motored the 1.7 M to Samos Marina [37° 41.5' N 26° 57.3' E] where I was directed to the C19 berth. The car was waiting for me at the marina. But, I ate at the local restaurant and slept in Thetis. I will move to Kalami early tomorrow morning while the sun will still be low.

A few days later I received the following e-mail from Amazon:

Hello Vasilis,

I'm Aaron DeFoe of's Executive Customer Relations. Jeff Bezos received your letter dated August 28th and asked me to respond on his behalf.

I’m really sorry for the experience you’ve had with our Kindle team.  It's disappointing to hear our customer service team wasn't able to resolve this concern for you. I'll be sure to follow-up on any helpful training opportunities to ensure we do everything possible to avoid situations like this in the future.

I’m glad you were able to fix the problem with the two books yourself. Our technical team didn’t notice any issues with “Ramage's Signal (No. 11)” and “The Ramage Touch”.

Vasilis, I’m sorry for the troubles you’ve had and want to thank you for being a supporter of Kindle. If there’s anything else I can do to help, please feel free to contact me directly at


Aaron M DeFoe
Executive Customer Relations